This morning I wrote about the Arizona governor’s race for the Washington Examiner. Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey is leading the race and I –and pretty much every other conservative in America– has endorsed him. In either second or third place is former Mesa mayor Scott Smith, who in 2009 was a supporter of the Kyoto Protocol.
My coverage of the race got a Smith flack angry at me and he trolled me hard all day, which is not the swiftest move when you want to distance your candidate from a specific dumb move. Violating the first rule of holes, Mayor Smith tweeted a desire to talk with me, which of course I immediately accepted and Mayor Smith called in. Here is the audio and transcript of that call, and here is the link to the press release I reference. Turns out the mayor was against the Protocol even as he signed on to it:
HH: Mayor Smith, welcome. Am I sure it’s you?
SS: Well, I don’t know. It is me.
HH: What’s your birthday?
SS: My birthday is when I was born.
HH: Yeah, but what day is that?
SS: Well, I don’t, why would I say that on the air?
HH: Well, so in order for me not to get punked by someone pretending to be Mayor Smith.
SS: Well, I guarantee you’re not getting punked.
HH: Okay, tell me what…
SS: You’ve got the right…let’s put it this way. It’s in February.
HH: Okay, what’s the address of City Hall in Mesa?
SS: The P.O. Box or the actual address?
HH: Either will do.
HH: All right, very good. You’re the real deal. Now Mayor Smith, here’s my first question.
HH: I have in my hand the October 2nd, 2009 press release of the United States Conference of Mayors that says “1,000th mayor, Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith, signs the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.”
SS: That I did.
HH: Why did you do that?
SS: Well, I did that, because I looked at it and I thought it was an important issue that we needed to be involved in. I didn’t agree with everything in there, and as a matter of fact, if you look at all of the press releases and all of the articles written, I was very clear that I had a problem with the reference to cap and trade in the Kyoto Protocol. But there were several things in there that I thought were good for cities. I think it’s good to conserve. I think it’s good to take conservative common sense business approach to finding energy sources. I think it’s good to have public-private partnerships. I did not agree with the Kyoto Protocol, and I made it clear in that time that listen, while I may agree with most of this, I don’t agree with that.
HH: At the time, then…at the time that the press release…
SS: And I still wanted to be involved.
HH: At the time that the press release went out, the second paragraph says “Mesa, Arizona Mayor, Scott Smith, was the 1,000th signatory to sign the mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, which is in line with the Kyoto Protocol standards…”
HH: …and calls for “a reduction in carbon emissions by 7% below 1990 levels.” What do you think would happen if America reduced its carbon emissions 7% below 1990 levels?
SS: Well, I didn’t agree, I understand what you’re saying, and I didn’t agree with that part of the deal. And if you read further down the press release, I think it does talk about how I had issues with certain things in the climate change, but I believed in most of it. That was one of the parts I didn’t agree with, the very reason you’re talking about.
HH: But this is, but what did…
SS: I did not agree with the Kyoto Protocol or the cap and trade. I made that very clear at the time, but I wanted to be part of the discussion.
HH: But what…but what would happen?
SS: And so that’s I got involved.
HH: What would happen if the United States withdrew, reduced its carbon emissions 7%?
SS: It would be bad.
HH: What would actually…
SS: And you know what? I didn’t support that.
HH: But what…
SS: So that’s why I didn’t support it.
HH: I understand, but…
SS: The Kyoto Protocol was a failed attempt, because it placed burdens on the United States and did not offer the type of rational approach that we needed, which is why…
HH: But did you…
SS: Even though I signed onto that, I made it very clear that I had a problem with that.
HH: Did you review this press release before it went out?
SS: No, I did not. No, I did not.
HH: Why didn’t you do that? Is that how you govern?
SS: No, that’s how, that’s when you’re a member of an organization, they have a press office that sends things out often without your view. I wasn’t in leadership at the time. I was a member of the organization, and I did not review it. No, I did not.
HH: And did you immediately put out a contrary press release which you can send me condemning their using your name and your city to promote that, because…
SS: Well, I think that’s a little drastic, condemning, but I think if you’ll read the articles, and read even recent articles about what I did after I got into leadership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where I actually, I actually got the opportunity to change their approach on how they looked at things.
HH: But on October 2nd, Mayor, on October 2nd, 2009, they put your name on a press release.
HH: And you stood back and didn’t do anything about it, allowed…
SS: I didn’t say that. I say if you’ll look at, and I can send you the totality of the press coverage, you will say that I made it very clear on how I felt about certain components of that.
HH: I’ll post it. Tweet me a link.
SS: If you don’t want to accept the totality of the situation, that’s fine.
HH: I want you to tweet me the link of what you did on October 2nd and 3rd, because they used you. And I don’t think that’s leadership, because Kyoto Protocol is a nightmare for this country. Agreed?
SS: Well, you know, at the time, at the time we were doing that first, well, the Kyoto Protocol was a dead issue anyway. The United States was not going to be involved in it, and we all knew that. And the other thing is like I said, in locally, if you look at, and I will be more than happy to provide you with the actual articles that were written in the local newspapers that stated very clearly my position. And I’ll be more than happy to provide those for you.
HH: Well, come back on when we have more time. We’ll continue the conversation, but I don’t think it’s good governance to let this go out under your name when it calls for a U.S. economy-destroying 7% reduction of carbon emissions, and then come back and say later “I didn’t mean it.” Last word to you, Mayor. Mayor? Did he hang up?
SS: No, I’m still here.
HH: Okay, well, come back tomorrow. We’ll talk some more tomorrow with Mayor Scott Smith.
End of interview.